Extent: 2 bankers boxes and 1 legal-sized document box
Linear feet: 2.5 linear feet
Language: French and English. The bulk of this collection is in French.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition: Created by Félix Gatineau, the collection was donated to the French Institute by Father Wilfrid Dufault.
Ownership and Literary Rights: The Félix Gatineau Collection is the physical property of the French Institute, Assumption University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.
Cite As: Félix Gatineau Collection, French Institute, Assumption University
Restrictions on Access: The collection is available to researchers and other interested parties. Permission for use or reproduction can be obtained from the director of the French Institute, and is subject to the Institute’s user policies.
Scope & Content: This collection relates the history of the Franco-American Félix Gatineau, who immigrated to Southbridge, Massachusetts in 1877. The collection, with a few exceptions, details his life post-immigration, particularly his extensive involvement in Franco-American social and political life. Gatineau’s interactions with the Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique [USJB], and its committee the Caisse des Vieillards (which provided financial assistance to elderly members and their families), are particularly well-represented. Of special note are the 43 diaries that he kept from 1881 through the 1920s. Series include: Biographical Documents, Correspondence, Genealogy, Southbridge, Franco-American Culture, Union Saint-Jean Baptiste d’Amérique, Volumes, and Diaries.
Series 1: Biographical Documents: This series contains papers that directly relate to the life of Félix Gatineau including biographical details, images, and newspaper clippings. Images of both Félix Gatineau and his family are included in this series. Of note is a picture of Félix Gatineau dressed as Paul Revere for Patriots Day, 1896.
Series 2: Correspondence: This series includes correspondence with various individuals and select family members, as well as organizations, except for USJB correspondence which can be found in its respective series. Key correspondents include: Clement Fréchette, Philippe-Armand Lajoie, J. A. Martin, and Adolphe Robert. Additionally, there is correspondence between family members, and correspondence related to his work the Histoire des Franco-Américains de Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Series 3: Genealogy: This series includes records regarding various Franco-American families. There is genealogical research regarding Félix Gatineau’s family; as well as his mother’s (Thériault), his wife’s (Giard), and the Bourassa, Potvin, and Dumas families.
Series 4: Southbridge: This series contains various documents concerning Southbridge, Massachusetts, including newspaper clippings, pamphlets, programs, images of Southbridge people and buildings, and Southbridge’s Club Canadien.
Series 5: Franco-American Culture: This series consists of records related to various aspects of Franco-American culture. Particularly, pamphlets and programs from events concerning Franco-Americans associations not only in New England, but the Mid-West as well (except for the USJB). Franco-American theatrical and musical events are also included. Of special note is a typescript play “Les Vengeances” prepared by Félix Gatineau pasted in an older booklet, as well as the program for the actual performance. There are images and business cards of select Franco-Americans. Franco-American parishes are represented, and there is an assortment of newspaper articles about Franco-Americans.
Series 6: Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique: The Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique was a fraternal Franco-American organization that Gatineau was heavily involved in. Correspondence regarding the USJB makes up the bulk of this series, particularly his work with the Caisse des Vieillards, as well as communication with Élie Vézina. The Caisse des Vieillards correspondence is a font of information concerning Franco-American families throughout New England. Gatineau’s role was to visit people wishful of aid, and to assess their situation. As such his letters to the Caisse’s board include the names, ages, personal history, living situation, and family ties of the individuals visited, as well as his suggestion about if and how the Caisse should help them. There are also significant records regarding various USJB events and congresses.
Series 7: Volumes: This series contains volumes that belonged to Gatineau, and a list of books from his personal library that he later donated to a public library [possibly Southbridge’s Jacob Edwards Library]. Of special note are school yearbooks from a few Canadian schools, Félix Gatineau’s scrapbook of newspaper clippings, Tonkourou by Pamphile Lemay, and two items related to Henri Bourassa, a Canadian politician and journalist.
Series 8: Diaries: This series is comprised of Gatineau’s daily diaries. Kept over 46 years, the entries are more like daily planners than narrative diaries. They shed light on his extensive travel on behalf of the Caisse des Vieillards, and most contain expenses of the Gatineau family. An additional four volumes highlight Gatineau’s political life.